Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féin

Painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of empty fireplace, Fanad, Donegal
“Tinteán Tréigthe no. 32”,  42 x 42cm, oil on canvas, 2017

It’s Irish Language Week this week dear Reader – but scroll down to read the English translation, if you wish. Nach iontach go bhfuil seacht lá déag i Seachtain na Gaeilge i mbliana, a Chairde.

So, tá scéailín deas agam daoibh inniu faoin bpictiúr sin ag barr. Sin tinteán mo shin-sheanmháthair, thuas ar leithinis Fhánada i nGaeltacht Thír Chonaill.

Emily McGloughlin ab ainm di agus ba leathdheirfiúr le Pádraig Mac Piarais í. Rugadh i mBleá Cliath í ach bhí sí ag obair ar feadh tréimhse mar bhean chabhrach (midwife) thuas i Fánaid. Dúirt bean liom go ndúirt bean léi go raibh cónaí uirthi i dteachaín beag deas in ascaill ghleanna, áit eicint in aice le Ros na Cille, in iarthar na leithinise.

Photo of Emily McGloughlin nee Pearse
Emily McGloughlin – photo courtesy of Páraic Mac Lochlainn

Agus bhí an t-ádh linn. D’aimsigh muid an teach gan mórán stró ach faraor, bhí an dian tite isteach agus bhí driseacha agus eidhneán ag fás san seomra suí(!). Ach bhí crann úll fós ag fás lasmuigh, bhí toranna spíonán sa ghairdín cúil agus bhí srutháinín deas ag boilgearnach leis in aice láimhe.

Agus fiú má bhí sé truamhéalach anois, bhí suaimhneas iontach le mothú ann, agus is cinnte go raibh mo shin-sheanmháthair ag breathnú anuas orainn le grá ina croí.

photo by Eoi Mac Lochlainn of Mise outside my great grandmother's house in Fanad, Co. Donegal
Outside my great grandmother’s house in Fanad, Co. Donegal

Believe it or not – the empty fireplace in the painting above is from my great grandmother’s cottage near Rosnakill in Co. Donegal. You can read about how I discovered this cottage in a previous blog post at https://emacl.wordpress.com/2016/04/14/emilys-house/

My great grandmother Emily McGloughlin was born in Dublin. She was a nurse/midwife and she worked up in Co. Donegal for over 30. When you see her cottage now, it really brings home to you how different her life must’ve been back then.

It was just a one-room cottage – no electricity, no ensuite(!), no running water (although there’s a little stream burbling it’s way past the back of the house). It was part of a ‘clachan’, a cluster of stone cottages in a shady hollow, not quite a village… and we were told that the house on the left was Nurse McGloughlin’s.

It was very nice to be there. I think we could feel her gentle spirit smiling down on us. There was an ancient apple tree growing outside, and some gooseberry bushes.

An Explanation

The heading on my post today is a common Irish proverb: Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féinwhich literally means: there’s no fireplace like your own fireplace, or in other words: there’s no place like home. I’ve painted many empty fireplaces in recent years, from all over the country, but I’m particularly fond of this one.

It will feature in the exhibition “Silent Stories” which opens at the Belltable in Limerick this Saturday, the 11th of March. This is a 2 person show with Miriam McConnon, curated by Olivier Cornet. More information at –

http://www.oliviercornetgallery.com/#/exhibitions-silent-stories/4593508254

http://miriammcconnonart.com/

http://www.eoinmaclochlainn.com/

http://www.oliviercornetgallery.com/

https://www.limetreetheatre.ie/shows/belltable/

http://snag.ie/

 

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4 comments

  1. I love it Eoin, What is the figure on the stone above the lintel? Looks like a face and a smoker’s pipe. We are fortunate to have such good connections to our ancestors. Charlotte

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    • Hi Charlotte, well I didn’t put a figure there intentionally, he must have simply ‘appeared’. I thought that it was just some grassy weeds on top of the lintel but look below that, at the dark space where the smoke would rise up and can you see the profile of a man with a cap? 🙂

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